Skip to content

Stationery Crazes

Posted in Fountain Pens

This is my second attempt to write this post. As happens every so often, when I finished the first version, I was rather unhappy with it. Since you’re reading this now, it’s safe to say that this second iteration was much more to my liking.

Over the time I’ve been part of the pen world, I’ve watched several stationery crazes hit. Sometimes, the hype is strong enough to sweep everyone along. The new “it” thing will sell out continuously, with many more left desperately searching for one to buy. Other times, that hype is just a steady hum, inspiring interest and conversation, but not many purchases.

Sometimes, those crazes are a one-hit-wonder akin to a fad — fading away as quickly as it appeared. But, there have also been plenty of cyclical crazes, with the hype peaking with each release. Still others have settled after an initial hype wave, leaving dedicated enthusiasts.

Hobonichi Planners

Hobonichi Techo Planner 2024
Photo from Yoseka Stationery

To me, the best-known cyclical craze item is the Hobonichi planner family Their planners hit the U.S. years ago, but they have a dedicated following that continues to inspire new users. The hype is real with each release, and many products sell out. And we all know it’s not just the planners. The Hobonichi accessories and Hobonichi-adjacent markets are strong, too.

Not being an avid adherent — I don’t use Hobonichi at all, actually — I can’t say if interest is increasing, decreasing, or holding steady overall, but it’s definitely still making waves.

Pilot Vanishing Point

Another cyclical craze is the yearly Pilot Vanishing Point limited edition release. While not every release generates the hype that this year’s Seashore has, it’s certainly something that gets everyone talking every year.

Brooks Materials

Brooks materials are an interesting phenomenon in the pen world. I don’t know when Johnathon released his first Primary Manipulation blank, but it, and all of its successor swirly materials have been major hits.

I know some people who own drawers of pens made of a specific Brooks material. And lately, there have been more and more mainstream brands making pens with them.

Beyond Jonathon’s own success, it certainly seems — to me — like he inspired a rise in blank makers. Can we credit him with the rise of indie blanks? Maybe?

Mini Pens

MAJOHN Wancai Mini Fountain Pen
Photo from Amazon

I don’t know if mini pens (pens under 5 inches when posted) have historically sparked any crazes, but they’ve been successful enough to stick around for decades. One only has to look at ventage pen tables at a show to see how long mini pens have existed.

But, the Moonman/Majohn Wancai Mini certainly seemed to get the mini-pen craze going. And, while it technically doesn’t count as a mini pen at 5.28 inches posted, the Q1 helped fuel that craze. It could have been because the Wancai is so small, but I’m guessing the low price played a significant part, too.

That craze, though, didn’t seem to last very long. While it felt like 80%-90% of the people in my corner of the pen world bought one, many seemed to quickly decide the tiny size wasn’t for them.


The Plotter craze has already abated a bit. I don’t know if it’s the price or the small rings, but it seems like people decided pretty quickly whether or not Plotter was for them.

As should have been obvious from my Plotter Alternatives series, I’m not Team Plotter — although I will acknowledge that their paper is nice. But, I was surprised by how quickly Plotter hype died down. It will be interesting to see if the hype grows again as Plotter attends pen shows this summer.

Toyooka Craft

Toyooka Craft Hinoki Blue Fountain Pen Box 8
Photo from Toyooka Craft

I didn’t pay much attention to Toyooka Craft until just before the DC Show last year — a pen friend told me she’d ordered one for DC pick up. So, I don’t know how long they’ve been of interest. But, they virtually sold out at the DC Show last year, so the hype was real.

Since the show, though, I’ve heard very little. I suppose it’s possible that they’re primarily a “show brand” for U.S. customers since they don’t seem to have a U.S. distributor. Not having ordered from them, I can’t say what the delivery time or customer service is like. It’s possible they’re significantly easier to purchase from at shows, even if they don’t bring their full range with them.

Traveler’s Notebook

To me, Traveler’s Notebook is the OG stationery craze, since it was the first craze I was part of the community for. If you were part of the pen/stationery community at the time, you likely bought one, seriously considered doing so, or knew someone who had one that you could check out and decided it wasn’t for you.

While Traveler’s Notebook doesn’t seem to have the same universal hype today, there is still a significant user base, and special editions in the U.S. can sell out pretty quickly.

Allow me a short digression to mention it’s just now occurred to me that Traveler’s Notebook is the antithesis of Plotter. Traveler’s Notebook is meant to hold everything, while Plotter is meant just for essentials. Interesting, given they’re made by the same parent company.

Toyo Toolboxes

Toyo Steel Trunk Shape Toolbox T-190
Photo from Cult Pens

I don’t have much to say about Toyo. They seem to be the current craze, likely because they’re fairly new in the U.S. I don’t really understand the interest, though. As open-hole boxes, they aren’t pen cases, so it’s interesting that the fountain pen community has embraced them so quickly.

Toyo toolboxes seem like something more useful to stationery folks. The boxes would probably be really good for storing ephemera.

There are plenty of other crazes of various intensities that have hit the pen world in the past few years. But, if I covered them all, this post would be ridiculously long.

Do you feel I missed any major crazes? Or do you disagree with me about any of these? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Make sure to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any posts. I generally post at least once a week.

Attribution: The image I used in the share images for Instagram and Facebook is “Sold Out” by Jeremy Brooks, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.


  1. Ana

    There was the Jibun Techo craze a couple years back too.

    I think its interesting to watch the trends across the stationery community and how it can be influenced very quickly by marketing and social media. The next post is “what will be the next trend in the stationery community”.

    July 1, 2024
    • Yes! I forgot that one! I doubt I could predict the next craze. My yearly predictions on pen and ink releases have an abysmal track record. 🤣🤣

      July 1, 2024
  2. John doe
    John doe

    I think it’s odd to say some of these items are fads. The US market is not the best for the type of stationery items you speak of. Asian stationery fans have been consistent in their usage of a lot of these items. I think maybe if more US bloggers were aware of actual Asian bloggers you might have a much more open/variety of view than this list.
    Not a criticism but if you see it that way then it sort of proves my point. The addition of these brands to the US market has really frustrated us Asian fans simply because we don’t understand US being rewarded with their US mirrors when all the Asian fans have been pushing and promoting and purchasing for so many more years over the American market.

    July 1, 2024
    • ana

      I think the whole post was specific to the US trends. (Rachel, correct me if I’m wrong) I appreciate that the Japanese and Asian stationery community have been loyal to many of these products for years. I think the point here was that the US market is fickle and there tends to be waves of enthusiasm for one product then another often throwing the previous product overboard for THE NEXT BIG THING.

      July 1, 2024
      • Ana, you’re right. I can’t speak to outside the U.S. market, I can barely speak to outside the U.S. east coast market, really.

        We do tend to be fickle, but I stayed away from labeling this “fads” since I’ve noticed that once a craze rolls through, the will be loyal users, even in the U.S.

        July 1, 2024
  3. I haven’t been in the online stationery world for that long, but I’ve definitely noticed and jumped on the bandwagon with a lot of these stationery crazes! For example I have a Hobonichi Weeks, a Traveler’s notebook and multiple of the Majohn Wancai mini pens. I agree that the mini pens thing didn’t seem to last that long, but I actually really like my Majohn Wancai pens, and use them often. But I can definitely see why a lot of people might have ended up finding them too small to be practical.

    June 27, 2024

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *